The Looming Giant


 Almost a year and a half ago, a renovation started following the Huskies losing yet another game to the Oregon Ducks.  The old stadium was in need of an upgrade and we are quickly approaching the result of that upgrade.  The track in Husky Stadium is removed.  The seats have moved down.  The east end-zone seats aren’t removable bleachers.  The south-side of the stadium has been redone.  The student section has been moved to a much improved west-side of the stadium.  There is no question that the renovation will be an upgrade.  In college football, teams usually have to build their own momentum.  Steve Sarkisian and his team catch a break in that a new stadium is a program-changer and could add a boost to the season.  Whether they can take advantage of this giant change to the program remains to be seen.
It’s easy to say that this year is just another year for Husky football.  That’s true.  Truthfully, no year is bigger than the next in sports.  We remember different seasons for the events they hold but, assuming your fandom stays on a steady level, all of the seasons should hold the same amount of importance.  But, those inside the program probably see things differently.  I think if you asked Sark and Woodward, off the record, they would tell you that this year is more important for the Huskies than any year in at least a decade.
Here are the University of Washington season tickets that were sold in the last few years.  These are final, but they are the best data I could find.
2012 — 40,482
2011 — 42,231
2010 — 44,109
2009 — 40,600
2008 — 43,497
2007 — 43,516
2006 — 42,598
So far this year, the school has already received about 44,500 ticket renewals.  Season tickets have just gone on sale to the public in the last few weeks so I’d expect that number to go up by a couple thousand before the season.  44,500 is already more tickets sold than any of the previous seven years.  If the Huskies have a successful season then sales will only go up in following years.  This would be a huge boost for the program and, as we learned from Oregon, the more money you have the better off you are.
Sark is entering his fifth year on the job and the Huskies record hasn’t improved the last two seasons.  Yes, it appears that the program is in better shape than two years ago but there isn’t a record to show for it.  As we all know, that is what’s really important.  If the Dawgs finish another year at 7-6, the calls for Sark’s job will grow louder.  Expectations keep growing, as they should, and it’s time for the program to take the next step.  Sark knows that.  The players know that.  Woodward knows that and the fans know that.  Another mediocre year wouldn’t kill the program but would clearly put it back a step.  Ticket sales for the following year would almost assuredly go down and the raucous crowds wouldn’t be nearly as raucous.
We’re still about three months away from the first Husky game.  There will be plenty of time to grow more excited and examine the chances of a Rose Bowl run.  Even with all this time until kickoff, it’s easy to see that this season will be an important one for the University of Washington.  The school has torn down and rebuilt a giant.  Now, as you drive across the 520 bridge you can see that giant looming.  Much like the giant season ahead.

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